Legalising Table Games Debated To Help Budget Deficit In PennsylvaniaOctober 5, 2009 9:17 am
The Pennsylvanian State House is considering legislation to allow blackjack, poker, roulette, and other table games at Pennsylvania slot machine casinos in order to help with its enormous budget shortfall.
Lawmakers have reached a consensus on the need to produce a budget which relies on millions being derived from table games as a means to prop up their recession hit revenue deficit. However, the state’s budget has been delayed by 3 months while lawmakers debate the logistics of how these games should be taxed and by how much.
Gov. Ed Rendell is currently trying to bridge a gap which has opened up between House Democrats who are suggesting that casino’s should be subject to a one off licence fee of between $7.5 and $20 million, and pay 34% revenue tax from all tables, and the Senate Republicans who are seeking a $10 million one off licence fee and around 20% casino revenue taxes.
Any legislation proposed would ultimately have to be passed by the Republican controlled Senate and Rep. John E. Pallone, D-New Kensington said:
“Gambling has proven to be a real nice revenue source for Pennsylvania … but it’s not quite the money tree that you all might think it is. It’s a business like any other business, and we can’t overly tax it so bad that gaming will leave the commonwealth and then we’ll have nothing.”
There has been some consensus between the two camps, such as increasing the funding towards gambling addiction recovery programmes to $4 million but Republican suggestions of banning ATM machines from casinos and compulsory closing of casinos between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. and on Christmas Day were all opposed. Likewise, the Democrat inspired bill would permit up to three times the current slot machine in the state’s miniature “resort” casinos but this is being opposed by Senate Republicans.
As the budget stalemate reaches Day 97, the gap between the two sides appears to be closing slightly and a final vote today or tomorrow, if passed will then be sent on to the Senate for approval.